Who is Alex Austin? And more post-Combine NFL draft notes

NFL Draft News

Apologies to Alex Austin. We had no idea how popular he is.

It’s rare for a player who’s coveted by other teams to go this long before being added to the Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board, but the Oregon State cornerback has thus far gone under the radar. Like, way under the radar.

But that’s not the case anymore, as Austin reportedly met with at least half a dozen teams during the Combine, according to the Walter Football prospect meeting tracker. NFL draft analyst Jared Tokarz said Austin has met formally with 23 out of 32 teams but didn’t specify if those meetings were at the Combine or elsewhere.

Three other players aside from Austin were recently added to the Rigdon big board following reports of Combine meetings with teams.

But none of those players met with as many teams as Austin reportedly did. And he’s now ranked as the No. 83 prospect.

So, who the heck is Austin?

He already has a fan in Pro Football Network’s Ian Cummings. Here’s what Cummings recently wrote about him: “If you don’t yet know this name in the 2023 NFL Draft, it’s time to get to know it. Oregon State CB Alex Austin is one of the biggest sleepers in the 2023 CB group, and he has the tools to exceed his draft billing and become a major contributor at the next level.”

While Austin didn’t exactly blow anyone away with his 4.55 40-time, he still received high marks from Cummings for his “…phenomenal combination of foot speed, hip fluidity, and snappy corrective athleticism.” Cummings also said Austin was “extremely flexible and freely moving as an athlete.”

Welcome to the big board, Alex Austin.

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Speaking of the secondary … teams Georgia has a chance to establish some history during the draft.

Since Kirby Smart took over as head coach in December 2015, Georgia has had three members of their secondary drafted in the first round and seven during the past four drafts.

Two Bulldogs secondary players are expected to be drafted this year, cornerback Kelee Ringo and safety Christopher Smith. Of the two, Ringo (No. 24) has the best shot to go in the first round, and if he did, it would mark the third consecutive year that Georgia has had a player from their secondary taken on Day 1. That would be a first for the school, a feat accomplished by just three other teams since 2000 (Ohio State, Alabama and Miami).

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The always-solid Eric Edhom, now with NFL.com, recently released his top-100 big board. No big surprises.

More player rankings and big boards released this week include:

* Jordan Reid (ESPN), top-15 QBs

* Todd McShay (ESPN) top-32 rankings

* Three surprises from PFF’s latest top-100: Ringo is ranked No. 73; DL Moro Ojomo of Texas is ranked No. 85; and DL Kobie Turner of Wake Forest is ranked No. 100.

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San Francisco just breathed a big sigh of relief: prior to this week’s announcement of the compensatory picks that were awarded to teams, the 49ers had just four picks in the upcoming draft, none before the fifth round. Now? San Francisco has 11 picks. The team’s compensatory picks include three in the third round, one in the fifth round, one in the sixth round and two in the seventh round.


Jake Rigdon (@jrigdon73) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak.com. His big board is updated at least once per week during the season and leading up to the draft. Message him on Twitter to receive $3 off your new Ultimate GM subscription.

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